Mark I. Kirkmeyer

STAND DOWN

“Range Control, Cease Fire, Cease Fire!”
Artillery rounds had rocked the APCs
One lost its track ripped apart
A soldier stands ready
M-203 aimed at another
Finger on the trigger
Brown bars on target’s shoulder
“Stand down, soldier!”
“He nearly killed us, Sarg!”
“You’ve only got blanks.”
“40mm powder round will work”
“You don’t want to give away your life.”
“SOB can’t read a map”
Grabbed from behind
40mm powder round fires
Digging into the turned soil
“I’ll have him court-martialed”
“No, sir. This stays here”
“Nobody here will back you.”
“Next time we won’t stop him.”

Years later
“Stand Down in the Park”
What the f**k is that
GP Mediums set up in the park
VA paper pushers
Reserve hospital
Free doctor’s visit
Help with paperwork
He’s recognized
A reservist he served with
Time in the desert sand
Called family
Took him off the streets.